In the News: Andy Hines in The Futurist magazine

Consumer trends in three different worlds

By Andy Hines
“The Futurist”
July – August 2008

These are the top 20 trends affecting consumer life around the world:

Trend 1: ageing population. Non-retiring seniors … stay active. Companies … want to tap their valuable expertise and experience. Many seniors will insist on working on their terms, … working conditions … establishing home-based freelance businesses.

Trend 2: changing families. … traditional family on the endangered species list. Single person households is the fastest-growing type of household … second only to multigenerational households. Traditional age-based segmentation is not a reliable indicator of people’s actions or interests.

Trend 3: migration. It is logistically easier … to relocate. … raising challenging social and political issues. More organisations will … diversify their workforces … global economy that demands an international perspective.

Trend 4: population growth. … the global population is going to top off at somewhere between 9 billion in 10 billion people. … [first world countries] will have too few people and too few workers. This concern results from the common misconception that economies and organisations must continue to grow.

Trend 5: urbanisation. … anyone armed with a laptop or PDA can connect to the world, and the workplace, via the Internet. …interesting choices … about where to live and work. Managing virtual workforces will present challenges … need … new ways to measure productivity based on output or value created…

Trend 6: Asia are rising. Both China and India are ascending the economic ladder… The 21st century can be characterised as the Asian century. … more economically and militarily competitive, but … also offer large and lucrative markets…

Trend 7: consumerism. For the first time, hundreds of millions of people … will be living in a consumer economy. … the work and lifestyle patterns of the people will shift. … more money does not equal more happiness. The evolution of consumerism is likely to play out in different ways around the world…

Trend 8: middle-class growth. Rather than haves and have-nots, it is … between the haves and have-lots … Increasingly, consumers are willing to spend lots of money on “identity-related” purchases, while other less-important purchases are based solely on cost.

Trend 9: time pressure. … consumers in wealthy [first world] nations consistently say they never have enough time to do everything on their to-do lists. … free time is more likely to actually decrease as people spend more time working in their growing economies. … businesses may benefit if they provide time-saving products. It also serves as a reminder of the value of customer service.

Trend 10: personal outsourcing. Today’s time shortage is leading consumers to outsource services they used to provide for themselves. … great opportunities for an increasing number of businesses to earn money by offering convenience…